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SEAL Team with Justin Melnick
December 17, 2018 Chris Gordon

Justin Melnick is a man with a fascinating career. He has spent time as a police officer as well as a combat photographer out in Afghanistan. He has experienced the horror of war as well as the toughness of the streets in his time as a cop. It was in this job that he teamed with his best friend, Dita. Melnick was brought onto SEAL Team as a consultant, but after a couple times of bringing his own equipment in, as the show didn't have the right stuff, he was asked by a producer if he would play the canine handler in the team. He has since not looked back, becoming a weekly regular and being fed more lines as the show, and himself as an actor, develops. In his own words, he has the most amazing teachers. Sit back and enjoy my chat with this lovely guy who is overjoyed to be where he is and doing what he does without knowing he is a fan favourite!

Episode Transcript

Justin Melnick:0:01I'm Justin Melnick and I'm chatting with Chris Gordon on Hellblazerbiz

Hellblazerbiz:0:04Good morning, good afternoon, good evening and good night. Wherever you may be in the world right now. This is Hellblazerbiz and I'm your host, the one and only Chris Gordon. Hey, thanks all for tuning in, whether it be on Itunes, youtube, buzzsprout, tune in.com, spotify or Google play. I welcome each and every one and express my gratitude to the support you give. Very grateful for those of you for the seal team is as well. I'll thank you at the end, but thank you so much for the support you showing. What an amazing fandom to be a part of. I've got to say it's probably the one of the best ones I've been in with terms of welcome in and just general integration and interactions. You are amazing people. Thank you so much. So this week's guest I have the privilege of the company of Justin. I really appreciate you taking the time out to do this. I know you're really pushed for time because you're currently on set filming.

Justin Melnick:2:00It's my pleasure. Thanks for having here.

Hellblazerbiz:2:02No worries. We've got so many questions. We're going to have to do this and that. They were gonna have to do a second one. That's the perfect, uh, invite [inaudible] to come back on. Excellent. Cool. Um, I normally think couple of other questions for myself. As I said, I have so many sent in from people. I thought I'll just hit away and yeah, you've been really popular. It's been listening as I mentioned that on. Everyone's jumped to it and a lot of great chat with Judd earlier this week as well.

Justin Melnick:2:26Oh, fantastic. I Love Judd. He's the, he's the best

Hellblazerbiz:2:30and Neil has also just accepted. He told me to message him as well, so hopefully I might be able to schedule Neil to amazing. I'm going to capture you

Justin Melnick:2:38all like pokemon. Good man.

Hellblazerbiz:2:42Excellent. So I'll break straight into the questions because I know you have to go s I can get as many as before you have to run as possible. Uh, so apologies for those who have sent them in. I'll keep them all and then hopefully Justin and I can talk again.

Justin Melnick:2:54Sure, anything

Speaker 1:2:56Brilliant. So Nelson has just started on is do you enjoy playing brock channels? So having data with you or with the other actors? I mean it's a,

Speaker 3:3:09it sounds like a dream come true, you know, some kids grow up idolizing superman or Batman. For me, I always idolize these guys. Being able to portray a navy seal on camera is one of the greatest gifts anyone has ever given me a, just the cherry on the cake is being able to come to work with my best friend to every single day. So she's with me at work. She's with me at home.

Speaker 1:3:34Uh, it makes it so incredible. I can imagine. I can imagine it's a, you know, with you though, just in her kennel she just had some breakfast so you can put it right here. Pause. Oh, hey. Gorgeous. Okay. Deeds not. She's winning the hearts of everyone I think

Speaker 3:4:02and she brings so much joy to everyone on set. She runs around, they get to play with her

Speaker 1:4:07riverbed, the entire environment. It's to awesome. Excellent. Excellent. I've just watched the episode, season one, episode 16, where the guy went to stop her and it looked like she'd been stabbed and there's blood everywhere and both of us just sit tears in their eyes like, no, please don't.

Speaker 3:4:23No, it was, it was, it was great. It was super emotional. You see, you see your best friend covered in blood and you know, it's, it's pretty easy to get, get into character right then and there.

Speaker 1:4:33I can imagine. I can imagine you guys to let you go back, which is um, next question is from Camille bonus as well because obviously you've got to, you need to do go back. Do you miss being a fulltime cup?

Speaker 3:4:46I was never full full time, so I always kind of did it as a part time job, but yes, I entirely missed my team and my brothers. I'm actually jumping on a plane tomorrow night to fly back to Indiana. We're do our annual shop with a cop where we take all the less fortunate kids from the community to Walmart and buy them Christmas gifts. So Dda and I will leave work tomorrow, jump on a red eye, landed about 5:00 AM or I'll have one of my units waiting to pick us up, tried to the police department, shower, get cleaned up, put on our uniforms and go out and hang out with our community for a little bit and then fly back to Los Angeles at night. So, um, I miss it enough to not sleep for a day to go see. Everybody is pretty cool. He's a weird going from an ordinary life.

Speaker 3:5:28Lifestyle is a, the was like an ordinary person in the lights would be the TV stuff. Nah, I wouldn't say I'm a TV star, but uh, you know, uh, I get pretty fortunate, you know, the guys on our set. Remind me of my cop brothers and my buddy military and um, I get to, I get to work a lot with different police units out here in California and uh, get to stay pretty involved and pretty, pretty, uh, pretty present in it. So, you know, it's a weird transition. Um, I think if you had me working on a TV show playing like a British Butler, I'm something totally different, totally different. It might be a little bit hard to flip back and forth from, from your mind space, but uh, but other than that, you know, we train every day. We're on set every day. We all worked out every day, you know, it, it's, it's pretty regimented. It feels like my old life except for the fact that people are bringing us protein shakes during the pampering us with makeup and hair and a comfortable wardrobe clothes. And it's pretty cool.

Speaker 4:6:33Well, so that brings into question perfectly. Here's friends of mine, Riley was a mit in Vietnam with the hundred first airborne and the 75th ranger regiment. Obstinately here to me for what you want to go, what do you want to enter in Vietnam, excentra and did, but he's a really great guy and that been offered watches of the show, but they absolutely love it and they asked what, what'd you do physically to be able to portray what the seals do. Ryan, he hasn't once said that you carry the weapons row or enter the situation wrong and apparently he always does that and he's not once with the sale team.

Speaker 3:7:17So we have an amazing team of guys. The show alone has over 300 vets working. Wow. We have everything from guys from seal team six and Delta force all the way down to coast guard. The coast guard is at the bottom, a barrage of the armed forces. Um, we've got guys from the National Guard. We've got guys that are reservists that are a part of our show. So we've got Vietnam vets that work in hair and makeup. We actually have a Vietnam vet that works in hair and makeup. We've got a naval whole technician that works in electric. We have, um, we have writers in the writer's room that we're seal team members. We've got technical advisors that were from the cl team, stunk guys that we're seal team, marine recon, we've got everything. Um, you know, when it comes to working out all the guys are really motivated to be in shape and really truly portray the physical characters of the men that they're, that they're playing, you know, this show is made by people because we love these people.

Speaker 3:8:29Uh, we respect these guys, these men and these women that are sacrificing everything. So when it comes down to crossing the i's are dotted and the t's we spare, no expense means being up at 3:00 AM to work out before 4:00 AM, call time were at the gym working out sometimes together, sometimes alone. We've got a gym on CDs. If not, if we're up in the mountains, we'll go for a run. But you know, all of our gears, real everything. Our basketball, we'll, our uniforms are all wheel, our guns are real. Obviously we blanks are breaching, our breaches are explosive. Breaches are all real breaches that we build. And then the special effects guys will fire them off just for safety reasons, but everything's 100 percent real with jelly roll tomatoes at us skin as well. How did you land the road on seal team? Uh, well I knew a Mark Owen who is one of the executive producers of the show there.

Speaker 3:9:24He wrote a book called no easy day and no hero. And I knew him from when he was telling the CL team. So, uh, Tyler Gray, who is the delta force guy that plays Trent, that uh, was um, he was, he was a producer on the show as well and a, and a technical advisor. And when they were doing the pilot, they wanted a dog for it. So, uh, my police dog is a single purpose female narcotics dog bite, a bite sleeve just because it's a toy to her. She won't bite a human. She'll bite a toy dog, but she looks like a melon. She is a mountain in law, but she looks aggressive camera. And so she, uh, they brought me in to do the, a to bring the dog down, essentially bringing all my gear down for the show. And when we got down there, the gear was kind of off, so we used all my equipment for the show and then the executive producers kind of looked at me and they're like, well, you look like you could be a seal and you know how to move and do cqb close quarters battle and felt the shoot.

Speaker 3:10:32Um, so why don't you just be the dog handler on the team. And then, uh, and then from there, you know, just being part of the team, you know, over time I started getting lines by the best acting teachers and Neil Brown, Max herriot and has some cost, you know, and tyler, these guys are phenomenal actors. I've spent years perfecting their craft. So, you know, every day, five days a week you're sitting at a table and when you don't have dialogue, you can watch and pick up on all the small details of what they do and how they, how they do their craft. And it's phenomenal. Um, so I, so I went to the acting school, a seal team for a couple episodes. It started giving me lines and then they started giving me more lines and it's fantastic, but you know, I'm still, you know, these guys are such good actors that, you know, I don't compare anywhere close to them.

Speaker 3:11:32So I get her on the line here. There is a treat, but you know, primarily the show is, is about those guys and they do such a perfect job portraying these guys, you know, I know, I know a lot of these guys in real life and a man and I said this to David Boeri honest, the day I met him, we had another person playing Jason Haze initially on the pilot and then they stopped coming the pilot and they brought him in and I had no idea who he was. I'd never heard of or seen bones. I'm not much of a TV watcher. I know who Jason Hayes's. I know Jason has a 100 times over and I'm sitting there and I'm on the monitors behind the director and I've got my little contacts in and I'm listening and it's a scene with, with him and Jess Parr a der. We killed the bad guy when we were supposed to bring him back and he's apologizing. I'm getting goosebumps right now thinking about it, and he comes up on that monitor and I'm like,

Speaker 5:12:32Whoa, whoa.

Speaker 3:12:35Goosebumps everywhere. I don't know who this guy is, but he's amazing and you know, he's. The show is really, to me, capturing the ideas that we want to tell the story of what these guys go through. The sacrifices these men and women make, you know? Yeah, yeah. Their job could be dangerous. Yeah. They could get hurt, but let me know. Uh, sorry. Um, you know, let me know what you think. But I truly think, you know, the, the things that people forget is that these guys are sacrificing things like anniversaries, birthdays, seeing their babies born, losing an eye, a leg and arm, those things that you have to live with, you know, losing marriages. Losing the woman you love because she, you know, because it doesn't work out when you're gone to 100 zero a year at work. So you know, yeah. These guys are heroes to every single one of the cast members and the show is really about talking about their lives and showing their lives and that was heartbreaking.

Speaker 3:13:42Seeing their story lines come in, like you say, between Jason and his wife, everyone, you know, the, just the, the tension that is, it's great to see it from the other side lines. So from the, from the people who were left at home and, and you know, it's just, it is. It's very, very powerful. I'll say that's why it's limited by Pi. Everybody respect. I've gotten nothing. Everyone who watches the show has got like say you guys to hear that you, you do it because you're so passionate and supportive of the guys who do this for real. I mean I haven't got the balls and I never would. These guys do. Or even years when you were a police officer to be honest. And then some of the situations, I'm sure you came across, but he said it's like, yeah, just to see it being done so, so well. And so, and when I'm talking to you and talking to share the passion behind it just exudes out. And that's just really, really good to say. Yeah, it's a, I'd feel blessed. It's a dream come true. If you had told me I was going to be acting on a TV show two years ago, I would've been like, what are you talking about?

Speaker 3:14:48Um, and it's, it's, it's incredible. Um, the people that you work with everyday you come onto set and they all have one common goal and that's to make a TV show fresh it, there's no, no. It's like, let's figure out how to do this. Okay, wait, I get it. It's complicated, but let's figure this out and let's put it all together. And um, so that's so inspiring. I can imagine. I mean, you know, it's, it's just such a fantastic sort of sentence. Fantastic place to be. And I've got two more questions for it because I know I'm looking at the time now that I haven't been submitted yet. So I've got I've until they knock on the door and they don't have to go always. I'll shoot these costs. This is from Stacey Stacey. She's a huge fan. I'm on twitter. She's. She says, she goes, she knows she.

Speaker 3:15:38She always bombing you on instagram and twitter. So priorities with overwhelming the cast. She's asked about how long do you train on a per day before shooting in new episode. What's the kind of routine? Zero, zero, zero training per episode. Every day we trained in some capacity, whether it's obedient a stuff or fetch or narcotics detection training, but when we're on set, if her, if it's an episode where she finds a booby trap or an explosive device that all of our thing is, we have cotton balls that had been imprinted with narcotic odors, so we'll have those cotton balls up into the device. She'll actually, I'll send her out on a search. She'll search, she'll find the device and she'll indicate, look back at me and look at the device.

Speaker 3:16:27You know, if it's, if it's climbing a ladder, all I'll do first is inspect the latter myself. I'll climb it. I'll make sure it's strong and sturdy. I'll see broken glass, nails or anything that could have come off of construction and that, that episode where she climbed that ladder to jump through that window. That was one take one time when we did second time with the camera on her back. Fantastic. You know, if she's got to jump through a car window, it's all within her. It's all, you know, not a bite dog. The bite stuff is, you know, is, is all toilets or it's sort of bite toy. She's trying to do that. I was just swept Lipson for this. This, I think it was when it was ready, if you can remember way back to season one just being kind of deployed to Afghanistan.

Speaker 3:17:14But um, these are also diversity in the show is a climate that ladder to the bunk and she just turns around and he goes, there's anyone else. Just to add to that, the only member of the same with no arms were making climb to the top. Have a nice as excellent is excellent. Okay. I'm going to go question for them and try them all. A good friend of mine from stating failures we know. No. Uh, in school, she's actually running the fs milestone next year in London, UK Ios team, which is a charity for infantile spasms. So she'd like to know what are your thoughts on veterans mental? Do you feel they get enough support? You know, one of the best things we can talk about right now because we've been at war for 17 years, so many people, so many people have come home holding onto so much baggage and nobody's there to help take some of that baggage from them. I don't know how to fix it. So I try not to criticize things that I don't know how to fix because I find that to be unproductive. But I do you this, the UK, the US, the French, these, you know, the Norwegians, even though they don't have that many guys over there, we've had a lot of our, of our people in war for 17 years. Yeah.

Speaker 3:18:37Did things that people have to do or see or feel while they're over there is unlike anything our society is, is, is in modern day age deal with, um, yes. The answer to your question is I think we can always do more. I think we owe it to the men and women that have been deployed. Our societies, our governments.

Speaker 3:19:09We need to figure it out because something's broken and we need to fix it because it's shameful. Um, it is completely shameful that we don't have, you know, during World War Two guys had three months, four months, you know, they'd go to the battlefield and it was way more treacherous, but then it would take them almost a year to get home at a year. You'd be on a boat for three months and you could talk to your boys about it, about what you saw, what you went through with someone else who's experienced it. I remember when I was in Afghanistan, you know, uh, one of the first lieutenants that was with the unit that I was taking pictures for was on leave and he was going to Australia and literally we had a suicide bombing hit our compound that we were staying in. We were on an aerosol, thank God when that happened.

Speaker 3:20:07Otherwise we would have all been dead for 20 or 30 Afghanis. The two Americans left on the posts were injured but walked away from it. Okay. But injured at a lead that compound to go to a bigger base for medical care but basically didn't lose any arms, no strap millages over pressure and stuff like that. But man, you know, within, within picking up body parts and securing the location, you know, my mind you, when that happened, we were on a mountain side of like, we're probably like 32 Americans, 30 Americans and like 15 Afghan police and 60 Taliban, you know, a thousand people below us in the wadi trying to attack us and position us. And thank God we had air air coverage. They said some things on station which dispersed everybody. And um, to, to coming back to the compound know body parts to him being in Sydney, Australia, sending me a facebook message, being like, Hey, do you know anybody here that I can that can show me around like that's modern techno. But Canada has a very long winded answer and it's, it's all of our responsibilities to try and help.

Speaker 4:21:25That was definitely a minute, two minutes here on the streets living on the streets because Marilyn horrible. Um, so I think, you know, society, we need to do more than we need to get together more and do this for these guys. You've given everything a front control. I'm going to ask him a signature question before and then offsite earlier this because there's loads more questions for you. So I'll save these for when you come back up for this one is a total loss. The, I basically, I had a guy on the show last year who as worked with Jim Henson and the muppets for 30 years, and the question someone's asked the question for him and I thought I was such a cool question. I'm going to ask everybody. So if you could have a map, it's created after you, what would it be and why? It can be an existing model or a new world for Islam. Islam is completely off the wall. Question.

Speaker 3:22:14Any like if I could be any puppet or create a new puppet, you can create a new muck it puppet wherever that I don't know, man. I'm sure. I'm sure if I sat down and really thought about it, I can maybe create them up, but I say why broke? Why fix what's not broken? And the cookie monster is just the one that drives me. I love my cookies. Cookies cookie rack here, the cinematographer of the show, his wife bake these cookies for us. Oh, nice. Oh they are awesome. Oh yeah. It's taking all my self control not to nibble on it because it is so cool.

Speaker 4:22:51Excellent. I'm going have to say to people who are listening and watching before I do. So stop the recording for this jester.

Speaker 3:23:03Thanks. Thank you guys for being so loyal and supportive of the show. Um, it's a, it's a great. It's a great opportunity, uh, to be part of. It's a wonderful opportunity to be able to show what such a secretive group of people get to go through so that the, uh, the world can kind of know that they're not immune to, to hardships of normal life, you know, and keep tuning in. And, uh, we love your support and your feedback. Thank you so much justin. I really appreciate it. I know it's very short, short timeframe to get this out, so I really do appreciate it all. Again, all you seal team is out there who's supposed

Speaker 1:23:46to meet and continue to do so. Thank you so much. I hope those who sent questions in and got the masks a happy with the answers and it was pleased you. And please do help me reach the other casters. I would love to chat with them on my show and discuss your questions as well and get some answers and some good conversations. I know this has been Chris Gordon with just in Melnick of seal team on Hellblazer Beers.

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